News and Press Releases

COLUMBIA MAN SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2011

A Columbia man was sentenced in United States District Court in East St. Louis, IL, on July 29, 2011, for the Enticement of a Minor, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Roy R. Browne, 29, of Columbia, IL, was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment, 5 years’ supervised release, fined $600, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. Browne has been detained, that is, held without bail, since his arraignment on March 3, 2011.

“Throughout my professional life, I have advocated for the rights of persons abused by others. As in this case, I will not rest until anyone who is abusing, attempting to abuse, or otherwise preying on an innocent victim is brought to justice for their actions!” stated United States Attorney Wigginton.

The violation took place on February 4, 2011, when the 16 year old victim and his/her mother went to the Columbia, Illinois, Police Department to report that minor victim was receiving unwanted text messages from an adult who was trying to get the victim to meet him. That adult was subsequently identified as Roy Browne. The victim began receiving the text messages in February after accepting Browne as a friend on his/her Facebook page. The victim’s cell phone number was on his/her Facebook page. The texts requested a meeting with the victim. The victim explained that he/she was only 16, to which Browne responded, “That’s all right. I’m 28 is that fine with you?” The victim told Browne on at least two separate occasions to stop contacting him/her, but Browne persisted, sending text messages such as the following: “I want to meet you! I want us to be friends! Please!”

The victim and his/her mother consented to a police officer using the victim’s cellular phone and his/her identity to communicate with Browne. During the text messages between the undercover officer and Browne, a meeting was subsequently set up for that night. The two were supposed to meet in the parking lot of the Columbia Public Library. Browne told the victim that he would engage in oral sex with the victim when they met. When the undercover officer, acting as the victim, repeated that he/she was only 16, Browne replied, “We can see what happens? Want to come over now?”

After the meeting was set, Browne texted the person who he believed to be the victim, and asked if the victim had any friends that would like to join them. The officer, again using the victim’s identity, stated that he/she had a 15 year old friend. Browne told the victim that if the 15 year old wanted to join them, he/she could. He texted, “I would have fun teaching you how to have 3 way fun.” Browne described what he would be wearing to the meeting. He also texted that he planned to have oral sex with both the victim and his/her friend when they met.

When Browne saw who he believed to be the victim and his/her friend in the parking lot, he texted, “I want [the 2 minors] fully naked when I get in the [car]. These are orders from your master.” The undercover officers arrested Browne when he approached them in the parking lot. In a voluntary statement Browne admitted meeting the victim on Facebook, and that he had made plans to meet the victim and his/her 15 year old friend for oral sex.

“I commend the victim’s mother for her prompt and thoughtful handling of this matter. While I cannot take away the trauma that this incident has caused, I do praise this person for being vigilant and being involved in her child’s life. Only through such watchful parenting can we protect our children from the dangers that are out there.” said United States Attorney Wigginton.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The case was investigated by the Columbia, Illinois, Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Metro East Cyber Crimes and Analysis Task Force. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.

 

 

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